How Much Does Professional Website Design Cost in the UK?

Professional website design costs

How much does it cost to have a website designed in the UK?

In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at just what it takes to build and maintain a professional website. We’ll look at the following:

Let’s start off with some fun statistics, shall we?

The most expensive websites are often our own government-based organisations. This post isn’t about politics but it may surprise you just how much our governing bodies manage to spend on professional website design.

The latest HMRC website cost £35 Million (yep that’s six zeros!) to build and maintain for 3 years.

That may sound like a lot but it pales in comparison to a business link website built a few years ago which cost an eye-watering £105 Million.

This included:

  • £6.2m for strategy and planning
  • £4.4m for design and build
  • £4.7m for hosting and infrastructure
  • £15.3m Content Provision
  • £4.5m for testing and evaluation


The above costs were repeated every year for 3 years!

Moving back into the realms of normality, what about a typical small business website?

Well, it could cost you anything from £0 up to around £15000. Many websites do cost more than this but most small businesses will fit within this price bracket.


Domain Name

The first thing that you’ll need when you’re setting up your website is is a domain name. This is relatively inexpensive (unless your purchasing premium domains from a reseller).

It’s a common misconception that (that domain registrars are only too happy to prey on) that when registering a domain, you should go and register every domain suffix under the sun.

There are now so many domains suffixes available you could purchase 20 domains and still not cover them all.

  • .com
  • .net
  • .org
  • .biz
  • .london
  • .tv
  • +many more


What you need for your website will depend on the type of business you own and how what you intend to do with it.

If you have a standard small business in the UK that serves UK customer primarily then it’s best to start by registering a domain. If it’s available, get the .com version too (particularly if you plan on selling overseas). In most cases, you won’t need anything more than that.

Domain Auto-Renewal

When purchasing your domain, make sure that it’s set up for Auto-renewal. If it isn’t, and you forget to renew, you could end up with your website going down, loss of email addresses and even loss of your domain name permanently (there will always be a grace period to give you a chance to get your domain back). Keep your credit/debit card information up to date with your registrar.

If you have a good web designer that offers after-care, they can manage this for you as part of your support package. So, if you’re a busy entrepreneur just pay your web designer to manage the domain and billing for you so you don’t have to worry about it. At WDM we manage domains on behalf of all our clients. It just takes the stress and hassle out of it. We can automate the billing so there’s very little work involved on your part.

Comparing Quotes

If you’re having a site designed in the UK by a professional website designer, they will be happy to draft you a full proposal which details everything that’s included and exactly where costs are going. We provide full proposals for all of our bespoke websites. If you’re unsure of costs, it can be a good idea to compare quotes. But…

Make Sure You’re Comparing A Like-For-Like Specification!

This is extremely important. On the face of it, a £500 quote may offer the same as a £5000 quote. It’s not until you question the designer and compare proposals that you realise why the fee is so different.  Generally, cheap quotes tend to equal a lower quality website. The more money you spend, the better quality product you’re going to end up with.

There are some really great web designers out there that will be cheaper than large agencies but make sure they fully understand what’s required before you start, and drill down into the proposal to check if those cheap quotes include the same set of benefits as the more expensive quotes that you’re getting. It’s not uncommon to receive a cheap quote but find out further down the line that your designer has missed something really fundamental.

One of the most common differences between cheaper and more expensive sites is how well they engage and convert visitors. 

Plenty of web designers can create a good-looking website but a great designer will learn exactly what their client is trying to achieve and build a website that’s designed not just to look good, but to meet those requirements and provide a return on investment.

What about a DIY Website?

A DIY website may be a good choice if you simply don’t have the budget for a good web designer. It may actually be better than hiring a very cheap designer. You could use the money you save on a small marketing campaign.

However, if you take this route be sure to write down specific goals you have and be clear what it is you want to achieve. Keep this in mind when building your website to ensure it will meet your needs.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that some companies (e.g. Wix cough, cough) are a little sneaky in that you never actually own the site you create. This can cause problems as your business develops. Check the policies of your chosen platform carefully. You may also have to sacrifice speed and flexibility.

Next (and importantly), your free website may not be free after all. You’ll often find that some of the features you need carry an additional cost. Bear in mind that these companies are in business and there to make a profit.

If you’re simply running a hobby site or plan to keep your business very small, then a DIY could be the best solution. But if your business grows you’ll find that (in most cases) you’ll have to get your website re-built by a professional designer or pay somebody (who specialises in whichever platform you use) to add features for you.

A Professional Website Will Pay For Itself

If you find a good, professional web designer that understands CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) and your customer journey, then the increased business that brings will pay for itself and provide you with a healthy ROI in a relatively short time-frame (depending on your business model of course).

Website designers/developers aren’t magicians and we can’t provide you with thousands of clients just by having a good website on its own. But, if you can convert just an extra 20% of visitors into paying customers (or verifiable leads), what would that be worth to you?

The majority of our website projects cost between £2000 and £6000. If you could convert an extra 20% of your visitors into clients/customers, how long would it take you to recoup that investment and see a positive return? Your answer to this question is often overlooked but vitally important, as it’s one factor in deciding if we (or of course another company) are likely to be a good fit and provide a healthy ROI.

Please note: the 20% figure used is of course variable and will depend on your business and where it is right now.

Running Costs

We’ve already spoken about domain names but there are other costs you will have to factor in if you want to keep your website running smoothly.

Web hosting – Hosting costs can vary from £5 p/m to £50k+ p/m. The right hosting for you will depend on the size of your website, the number of visitors you have, the location of your target audience, and how resource-intensive your site is.

At WDM, we host all of our clients’ websites. Hosting costs usually range from £25 – £100 p/m. Although we can offer web-hosting separately, it’s usually sold as part of a website care plan. This allows us to ensure your website is well looked after and properly maintained at all times. This helps to prevent downtime, speed loss, security flaws and other potential issues.

This brings us neatly onto updates.

Just as your phone software needs updating, so does your website. Fail to keep software updated and you risk errors, slow-loading, security issues, and even customer data breaches. Unless you’re confident in maintaining this yourself, it really is worth allowing a monthly budget for this. We provide website care packages starting from £50 per month.

Get A Fixed Price Quote!

At WDM every proposal we write is fixed price and we detail exactly what’s included. The only time the price will change is if the job itself changes (for example, if you require an additional feature that wasn’t originally requested).

The quotation for professional website design should always be a fixed cost (unless it’s an on-going project that you are planning to develop over a long period of time).

When you talk to your designer, make sure that everything you need has been included in the quotation and make sure that the cost is fixed, not just an estimate.

If you’re unsure about something, ask. There’s nothing wrong with making sure you’re both on the same page before committing to your project. (See: 6 Golden rules for hiring a web designer).

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